Trust, security remain a concern as SE Asians take to fintech

Photo by Bruce Mars

The customer battleground for Southeast Asia’s financial services industry has moved online with 57% of consumers now preferring to engage with their banks via apps rather than visiting in-person at a branch, according to the VMware Digital Frontiers 3.0 report.

This finding has critical implications for growth-oriented financial services firms, as 60% of consumers are prepared to switch to a competitor if digital experiences do not live up to expectations. 

Still, while 59% of Southeast Asian consumers felt that financial services firms delivered better digital experiences compared to retail, healthcare, government, and education organisations, 24% still feel that financial services firms have failed to adapt to the changing market. 

Consumer priorities in the region remain focused on core fundamentals that enable great digital experiences — a high level of security and protection of consumer data (58%), ease-of-use across all devices (46%) and applications that deliver services simply and effectively (41%). 

“It is clear that cutting-edge innovations such as Cloud and Modern Apps will be accelerators that helps to transform the future of finance in this region,” said Guru Venkatachalam, VMware VP and CTO for Asia Pacific and Japan. “A trusted digital foundation will be key to supercharge innovations and enable financial services organizations in delivering new, seamless and secure digital services and applications, and to meet ever-evolving customer needs.”

Over the past year, consumers in Southeast Asia have been embracing emerging technologies more, with more than half (70%) expressing trust in artificial intelligence and 41% willing to let an app help make their investment decisions over an individual that works for the bank. 

Further, the study also found that Southeast Asian consumers are relying on their smart devices more, with 64% of respondents stating that their phones are now more important than their wallets when conducting financial transactions. 

Consumers in the region are showing willingness to embrace next-generation technologies with 75% of those surveyed expressing trust in facial recognition technologies and 5G (78%). 

When it comes to technologies of the future, consumers are optimistic about the impact to their digital experiences, with 41% believing that 5G can make banks more efficient, enabling them to do things like processing applications and credit checks faster. 

Despite the optimism in emerging technologies, consumers in the region will not compromise when it comes to security, with 82% of them considering security the No. 1 priority when choosing a financial services provider. 

More than half (57%) of Southeast Asian consumers feel paranoid that organisations are tracking and recording what they are doing on their devices.